Registry Repair Software Review
How to Choose Registry Repair Software?
The top performers in our review are RegistryCleanerKit, the Gold Award winner; Ashampoo WinOptimizer, the Silver Award winner; and Registry Reviver, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the top 10 registry repair software.
You’re here because your computer is slow, suffers from a lot of errors and probably doesn’t boot up quickly. It’s frustrating, especially since you remember your computer being so much faster when you first turned it on right out of the box. You’ve probably read somewhere or had someone tell you that your computer is slow because your Windows registry is a mess, that over time it becomes overwhelmed with errors, empty keys and corrupt entries that bog your computer down like molasses. Since you don’t have the skills or knowledge to fix the registry yourself, you’re looking for registry repair software to do it for you.
Registry repair apps promise to speed up your computer. One of the first bits of marketing you’ll read on all of these products is that they can improve your computer’s performance by removing registry errors and optimizing the Windows registry database. In fact, one product even promises that you’ll enjoy a 300-percent faster PC.
In a perfect world, you’d pay the $20 or $30 for the software, and it would scan your sluggish PC to find thousands of registry errors. You’d feel relief as you clicked on the Repair Registry button, and after a few minutes, your computer would be back to normal. In a perfect world, it might even be faster. After all, in order to boost your PC’s performance by 300 percent, it would have to make it faster than it was originally. For example, if your PC originally took 10 seconds to open an app when it was brand new but now takes 15 seconds, then a 300 percent improvement means it would open the app the moment you click on it. This is impressive, and of course, completely unrealistic.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, and registry repair software rarely, if ever, provides the improvements it claims to provide. In reality, if your computer is frustratingly slow, the best thing you can do is uninstall all of the software you don’t need or rarely use. Optimizing the Windows registry database has no significant impact on performance, as we’ll discuss in this article. To learn more about how to optimize your computer, read our articles on PC registry optimization.
What Is a Windows Registry?
If you don’t know what the registry is, that’s okay. Most people pay little attention to the registry and for good reason – it exists in the background, behind the curtains, out of view. The registry is like the employees-only warehouse area in the back of a superstore. You never see what’s back there. You only see the white floors, rows of products, signs and sales, which is what you’re meant to see because all of the work going on in the background doesn’t apply to your experience. However, the warehouse is a necessary part of the store that allows the retail floor to function properly.
Your computer’s registry is the central point of the Windows operating system where settings are stored for just about everything you do on your computer. When you install new software, you add to this inventory, and when you uninstall software, some registry settings and information are left behind. Now, the efficiency of any inventory system, whether it’s in a literal warehouse in the back of a retail superstore or a database on a hard drive, is in its organization. If there’s unnecessary information left behind, then the registry has to sort through the slog to find the necessary information. So, in theory, this can make your computer slower.
Why Is My Computer Slow, and How Can I Fix It?
If registry repair software is not the answer, then what is? Below are some reasons why your computer is slow and some ways to address the problem.
Imagine your CPU is a highway, and all the data that needs to be processed for your software to run properly is traffic. When you first get your computer, the highway has very little traffic because you don’t have many apps installed. As such, the computer is able to process data quickly because the lanes of the highway are clear. Over time, as you install more and more apps, traffic becomes congested. This can slow down your computer and sometimes cause it to freeze or crash altogether.
To ease the traffic, you should first uninstall unnecessary software. By going to the control panel and selecting Programs and Features, you can see all of the software installed on your computer. Look carefully through this list and uninstall any software you don’t use very often and any that you don’t use at all. If you don’t use it and you don’t need it, there’s no reason to keep it. If you’re not sure if you need a certain app or you don’t recognize it, you should research it before uninstalling it.
If uninstalling unnecessary software doesn’t decongest the highway, then you may need to upgrade the CPU or the RAM, though this may not be possible with some laptops. This is like adding more lanes to the highway, allowing for more traffic to pass through quickly. However, depending on your situation, it could be cheaper and easier to just buy a new computer, as the CPU is usually the most expensive component anyway.
Remove Software From the Startup Menu
Often, when you install new software, it automatically adds itself to your startup programs, which are the apps that launch automatically when you start your computer. Usually, these apps run in the background, so you don’t notice them.
A good example of this is online backup apps. Most of these apps run automatically in the background and start up when you restart your computer. However, you may only want the app to run when you’re ready to upload documents. If this is the case, you can remove the app from the startup programs, and it will only launch when you click on the desktop shortcut.
When you have a lot of programs that launch when you turn on your computer, your boot-up speed can be minutes longer than it should be. Removing all the unnecessary startup apps can dramatically improve your boot-up speed. Some registry repair apps have startup optimizers that do this for you, but you can disable startup programs yourself by typing “msconfig.exe” into the search box of the startup menu, which is located in the lower left-hand corner of your monitor. Once the msconfig.exe is launched, you can uncheck all unnecessary apps in the Startup tab, and your boot-up speed will improve the next time you start your computer. It’s that easy.
Surf the Web Responsibly & Use a Lightweight Antivirus
Viruses, malware, spyware, adware – these can all make your computer slower. You get these by clicking on pop-up ads, visiting untrusted websites, not using antivirus software, downloading files from questionable websites and clicking on links in emails from unknown email addresses. Basically, be cautious when using the internet. Don’t download anything unless you trust the source, don’t visit any untrustworthy sites, and don’t open emails unless you recognize the address.
Some antivirus software can actually slow down your computer. Using a lightweight app like Windows Defender, which is already part of your operating system, should protect your computer without slowing it down because it doesn’t require much from your CPU. That said, it’s important to run scans regularly, clear your cache and remove tracking cookies often.
Remove Unnecessary Plugins in Your Internet Browser
If webpages take a long time to load, it could be your provider or the hosting service. In both cases, you have little control over how fast your internet is, unless you upgrade your bandwidth. That said, downloading too many plugins for your browser can make your web surfing experience slower than you prefer. If the top of your internet browser is littered with search bars, weather widgets, news widgets and other tools, then you’ve downloaded too many plugins. Removing these can make moving around the web much faster.
Registry Repair Software: How We Tested, What We Found
Registry repair software is made to clean up your computer and make it run faster. It’s that simple. There is no point in buying this software if it doesn’t improve your PC’s performance. As such, that was the focus of our review process.
We started by researching over 20 registry repair apps. To create an apples-to-apples comparison, we made sure each app costs roughly the same – between $20 and $30 at the time of the review. Any apps that fell outside of this price range were cut from the list, which left us with 13 registry repair programs to test and compare. The best performing apps made our list of the top 10 registry repair software.
The Testing Environment
The best way to test registry repair software is see how it improves an old and really slow computer. We had the perfect one in mind – a Dell Studio desktop that was brand new in 2009. It has a 750GB hard drive that is 85 percent full, 6GB of memory and a lot of unnecessary software installed on it. In the last six years, it has had hundreds of apps and drivers installed and uninstalled, and it was used to record music, play video games and create digital art. This computer has had viruses. It has had spyware. It has bloatware and more cookies than grandma’s house.
For the last two years, every time the computer rebooted, we were greeted with a registry error message. It is, quite frankly, the type of computer that drives a person to consider registry repair software. This poor machine was sick and dying, and it’s quite remarkable it lasted this long. Could registry repair software restore it to its former glory? Or does it need to be replaced entirely?
Before we installed any of the apps, we installed performance benchmarking software that runs very specific tests to assess the computer’s word and data processing, graphics processing, video chat processing, and web browsing performance. We ran the software to set the original benchmark for the computer’s performance, and it was dismal – scoring below the 10th percentile for this type of CPU.
After the performance benchmarks were set, we created a restore point so we could restore the system and registry to this point after testing each registry repair software. We then installed a registry repair app, scanned the computer, fixed the errors and optimized the registry. After doing everything we could with the app, we ran the performance benchmarking software again and compared the results to the original to see if the performance had improved. After gathering this data, we restored the system to the original point and installed the next registry repair software.
Overall, most of the apps in our tests produced positive improvements, but a few apps actually degraded the computer’s performance. However, only one product produced significant results – Advanced SystemCare Pro improved web browsing speed by 29.2 percent, but it decreased word and data processing performance by 33.5 percent. So while it made significant improvements in one area, it also hurt performance significantly in another.
That was generally the case with most products. Improvements made in some areas were balanced out by negative results in others, and none of the apps produced significant results either way, which we considered to be in the 15 to 20 percent range. In other words, you’re unlikely to notice that your computer is 7 percent faster or 3 percent slower.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the apps in our comparison through retail purchase. The software developers had no input or influence over our test methodology nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
What Else Is Important in Selecting Registry Repair Software?
As we’ve mentioned several times, registry repair software is not likely the answer for your sluggish, crashing computer. That said, if you remain unconvinced or you’re just looking for a product to maintain your registry, then you should consider the features below:
Ease of Use
Unlike many utility performance apps, registry repair software is generally very easy to use. These programs aren’t made for power users, so they should have very few steps and well-organized interfaces. Most of the apps in our review scan automatically when you launch them. After identifying the errors, they give you the option to fix all of problems or you can manually exclude some.
We graded ease of use based on the perspective of a novice user. The app shouldn’t require you to fill in the context, but you also don’t want one that blindly fixes everything without allowing you to examine the results. To this end, most apps list the errors and issues by their priority level.
Registry Backup & Restore
Messing with your registry can cause major problems, and we encountered some when we used one product in our tests. This specific program failed to make our top 10, as it erased the restore points we established and caused many of the apps that were recently installed to not respond when launched. Fortunately, the software’s registry backup feature allowed us to restore the registry and the system restore points.
Most of the products we reviewed automatically back up the registry before making any repairs. However, some require you to back up manually. Regardless, this is an essential tool.
Some registry repair programs only scan and repair your registry, and we focused on these features in our review. However, many other apps feature additional tools that can help manage and improve computer performance. Common features include a startup optimizer, registry defrag tool, junk file remover and file shredder. You can perform all of these functions in Windows without the aid of an app, but these tools are often easier to use in a registry repair program.
Help & Support
You never know when problems, questions or concerns will arise when you're using a new application. Top-notch registry repair software developers make resources available online such as FAQs for common issues and live chat and phone support for more complicated questions. Email support is standard for all the products we reviewed.
Registry Repair Software: Our Verdict & Recommendations
RegistryCleanerKit earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award because it improved computer performance by 7.23 percent, which was the best overall. That said, it did make web browsing and video chat slower. It’s also a very basic app, offering nothing outside of the registry tools.
Ashampoo’s WinOptimizer 14 earned the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award. This app is a full suite of optimization software, and the registry repair tool provided a 5.27 percent overall improvement. However, it recorded negative results in every category except for word and data processing, where it improved performance by 7.6 percent.
While we recommend against installing a registry repair utility, you may in fact have a particular need for one. In that case, you want one that delivers on its promise of improving performance by managing Windows’ modest set of power user tools on a unified interface. We provide you with registry repair software reviews to help you find that solution for your PC. The right registry software does the heavy lifting for you, cleaning and repairing your registry with confidence – but don’t expect major improvements to performance.